When The Holidays are Triggering (Free Webinar)

Most of us who have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) or who are in recovery also struggle with one or more other areas, such as anxiety, depression, and possibly eating disorder behaviors.  While the holidays are intended to be a joyous time of connectedness and togetherness, when you are dealing with distressing mental health issues, it can be difficult to get into the holiday spirit.

The holidays can test our limits when it comes to anxiety: Will I be expected to travel? To be home while we host tons of people?  To go to parties that trigger panic attacks?  Malls crowded with people?  With depression: But I don't feel up to dressing up and acting like I'm enjoying myself when I'm not. And eating disorder behaviors: How am I going to cope with all of that food around?  How come she can eat so much and not gain weight, and I have to sit here and freak out over this?

The holidays can really shake up our world, and when you're emotionally sensitive, even though you may be accused of liking and creating drama, underneath it all, you probably just want to feel stable. You don't want your world rocked by having your schedule and routine turned upside down in the name of gift giving and buffets.

But here's the thing: the holidays are coming, whether we want them to or not... whether we feel up to them or not... whether we have anxiety attacks, are feeling down, or are having issues around food.  So, how do we best take care of ourselves by being skillful and effective during these challenging times?  How do we, against all odds, find some way to actually experience and share a little bit of joy with our loved ones during these holidays?

These are all all great questions that will be addressed in an upcoming free webinar that I have the pleasure of moderating.  This online event (you're invited!) with limited virtual seat (so make sure you REGISTER NOW) on Coping Effectively with Anxiety, Depression, and Eating Disorder Behaviors Over the Holidays: When the Holidays are Triggering.

The co-facilitators will be Dr. Robert "Bob" Fischer, Psychiatrist and Executive Director at Optimum Performance Institute (OPI), and April E. House, MA, MFT, Therapist and Eating Disorder Specialist at OPI.

I am so pleased to be a part of this event.  I encourage you to sign up and attend.  I also encourage you to give the link to your family members and loved ones if they are supportive and want to know how to help you cope over these upcoming holidays.

There will be a Q&A section at the end, during which you'll be able to ask questions (over a microphone on your device or by typing into a chat box) of Dr. Fischer and April.

I look forward to connecting with you at this event.

Because these types of webinars tend to fill up quickly, be sure to click HERE to register now and reserve your spot.

See you there!

Thanks for reading.

More Soon.

In kindness,

Men, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Breakups

It's been a while since I've seen seen article by a psychiatrist (or anyone with mental health credentials) that addresses the issues that people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) face when it comes to romantic breakups -- particularly the struggles unique to emotionally sensitive men in our society.

This week, I refer you to a blog post called "Men & BPD: The Breakdown after the Breakup" by Robert Fischer, M.D. of Optimum Performance Institute and the Roanne Program, the only residential treatment center in the U.S. that serves both young women and men with Borderline Personality Disorder and BPD traits.

In the article, Dr. Fischer speaks about the stigma and other issues that men face when they seek help for coping with emotionally dysregulating issues such as a breakup when their diagnosis is BPD.

It's an excellent read.  Check it out, and let me know your thoughts!

Thanks for reading.

More soon.

In kindness,

After you've read Dr. Fischer's article in a separate tab/window, check out these posts here on Healing From BPD on Men and BPD:

Resources: Men and Borderline Personality Disorder

Help Wanted: Men Have BPD, Too!

The Guy with BPD: Life as a Man Living With And Healing From Borderline Personality Disorder

A Key to Less Emotional Suffering with BPD

Dr. Marsha Linehan has likened those with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) to third degree emotional burn victims.  Even in recovery from the disorder, when we no longer meet the criteria for the diagnosis, we typically remain highly emotionally sensitive people.  The difference is, we've learned skills to manage the intensity of our emotions and to be mindful of the differences between thoughts, emotions, and feelings. This goes a long way to help with issues such as impulsivity and black or white thinking.

One of the keys that I have recently found to be incredibly helpful in releasing some unnecessary suffering and embracing life with acceptance is the concept of not taking things personally.  I recently re-read the book "The Four Agreements" by don Miguel Ruiz.  In it, he gets into how nothing anyone does is EVER about us. It's about them (and likewise, of course.)

This means that when people say something hurtful, it is about their experience. Perhaps they are afraid. Perhaps they never learned skills to manage their emotions in a healthy way.  Perhaps they do not understand the boundary of where they end and you begin.  I've been applying this idea to behaviors from others that I previously would have judged critically.  What has resulted is an increase in compassion for that person and a reduction of suffering on my end. Judging others, holding grudges, and taking things personally, in general, take a lot of energy.

It's not that I don't have an initial visceral reaction sometimes when someone does something that is seemingly quite truly "directed" at me.  With the perspective of not taking things personally in mind, I acknowledge that my feelings may be hurt from words spoken, but the words spoken are coming from the mouth of a person who sees the world in his or her unique way.  Behind the person's words are his or her feelings, thoughts, perceptions, and all of their experiences up until that moment.

Embracing this perspective does not mean I give people a free pass to treat me poorly.  I will certainly let someone know that their behavior toward me is hurtful and unacceptable to me, but I will not take it personally. I will not internalize it, believe it, and make it my story.  Is there some truth to meanness directed at us? There can be.  We don't need to go black or white and not try to distill the essence of the person's message and from a healthy place of reflection consider whether there is room for us to grow.  Will we be in the wrong sometimes? Sure, and we can own up to that and make the changes that we need to -- but we don't have to buy into any of the guilt trips or other negative thoughts and emotions someone may try to deliver to us with their words.

It's important to note that don Miguel Ruiz says that NOTHING anyone does is about us, it's about them.  This includes the "positive/good" stuff as well: compliments, praise, and the like.  To find true balance and piece with this release of not taking anything personally, we must also realize that while people genuinely love us and want us to feel good with the words they direct toward us, words can switch from loving to negative at anytime, so it's important to receive the goodness but take compliments and praise with the same grain of salt.

What are your thoughts on releasing taking things personally. Do you think you could try it as an experiment for a day? An hour?  Just notice your emotional reactions to other people's words and actions toward you. Then, consider visualizing that the person's words and behaviors are more about them than you. What might this person's choice of words and behaviors say about them?  Are they hurting? Are they afraid or insecure? Your compassion might grow and suffering reduce if you consider these questions and act from the different place you find yourself emotionally.

Thanks for reading.

More Soon.

In kindness,

BPD: It's Deeper Than Attention Seeking

One of the things that used to really irritate me when my Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) symptoms were at their worst was being accused of  "looking for attention."  I was told I was "so dramatic" and a "drama queen."  I was accused of wanting to be the center of attention and using my disorder as an excuse.  Being emotionally sensitive, those words hurt deeply.

The truth is, I can see how my behaviors could be misinterpreted as such. I desperately wanted to be accepted and to feel a sense of deep and lasting connection to others, but I had no idea how, so my attempts were misguided.  Because I didn't have a solid sense of self, in response to these accusations, I felt hurt that other people didn't see my true intentions, and I found myself questioning my own motives when I was only being me in the best way I knew how.

My attempts were misconstrued by those around me as attention seeking, but it was much deeper than that.  I'm writing this post because I know there are many in our Healing From BPD community that can relate and may think that no one could possibly describe, let alone understand this experience.  I want you to know, you are not alone.  Even more importantly, like, me, you can overcome this yet another often painful aspect of living with BPD.

Did I like to be the center of attention?  Sure.  I have a personality that loves to engage with others, and at a time in my life when my self-esteem was low and I wasn't sure who I was, the doting upon me of others was some sort of affirmation or validation that, even if ever so temporarily, assured me that I was "good enough." There was no malicious intent behind it.  I wasn't trying to grab attention for attention's sake.

As for the drama, I am a lighthearted, but yes, dramatic person, and that's actually not a "bad" thing. Perhaps I should have gone into theater. Hey, wait -- I still can! I think I'll focus on teaching my online DBT classes for now, though. :)

Even now in recovery (no longer meeting the diagnostic criteria for a BPD diagnosis - more about me and how this happened, here), I know that because I am very emotionally sensitive, I need to tap into my inner wisdom and take a step back to distinguish an emotion from a thought from a fact.

I have no shame about this.  I love being a compassionate, loving, sensitive person. Being this way comes with drawbacks, of course, as does any personality disposition, but since I have discovered and accepted and learned to love me for me, I accept all parts, even those areas where I can still grow.

The next time someone accuses your outward behaviors as purely attention seeking, as painful as it may be to defend yourself, consider taking a step back, taking a deep breath, acknowledging to yourself that you are doing the best you can, where you are at, with what you have, and maybe let that person know, too.

Read all you can about the experiences of others who have overcome. This blog is a good place to start.

You are not alone.

You can get better.

You are doing the best you can.

Thanks for reading.

More Soon.

In Kindness,
Debbie of DBT Path


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...